POLICING IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: Comparing Firsthand Knowledge with Experience from the West,
© 1996 College of Police and Security Studies, Slovenia


POLICING AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS POLICE PRIVATE IN COUNTRIES IN TRANSITION

Preliminary results of the International Crime (Victim) Survey

Ugljea Zveki

INTRODUCTION

Policing and the police are at the outset of the criminal justice system. Policing activities range from the routine provision of administrative services to citizenry, through systematic or ad hoc patrolling of certain areas, to criminal investigation, recovery of stolen property and bringing to justice of suspects. It also includes certain functions of punishment such as arrest, detention for limited periods of time, and the administration of fines. Obviously, in different criminal justice systems the police have different functions. Yet, in most of the systems policing is a mix of preventive, administrative and repressive functions.

In most of the systems the police is the first criminal justice agency with which citizens get into contact and, in turn, form opinions about the whole of the justice system. To many the police are the primary reference and symbol of state power. Together with the punishment sector policing is a subsystem of justice under such continuous scrutiny by the citizenry and the object of frequent political debate regarding powers of control, issues of privacy and issues of crime prevention and control priorities. Often the real or perceived failures on the part of the police to meet the real or perceived as important needs and interests of the community or social interest groups lead to the development of alternative policing styles.1 Policing is indeed the most targeted process in the continuous evaluative process of the justice system.

It is no surprise, then, that of all the subsystems of justice, it was policing that aroused major interest in, and a need to show that things are indeed changing in the post-communist countries following the fall of the Berlin Wall. A number of reforms were and are still directed towards police. Most probably the major share of international assistance and donors efforts in the justice sector went into the policing area. This paper will explore certain developments in the policing sector in a number of countries in transition which participated in the International Crime (Victim) Survey.

INTERNATIONAL CRIME (VICTIM) SURVEY: BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The IC(V)S was launched for the first time in 1989 and under the sponsorshop of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and encompassed 15 industrialised countries, one developing country (Indonesia) and one what is now termed a country in transition (Poland). The second2 sweep (1992-94) of the IC(V)S saw a joint co-ordination by the Ministry of Justice of the Netherlands, the UK Home Office Research and Planning Unit and UNICRI which resulted in the expansion of the Survey to include 12 industrialised countries, 13 developing countries and 7 countries in transition. The third3 round (1996-97) of the IC(V)S is almost completed and includes 12 industrialised countries, 12 developing countries and 15 countries in transition. All together, 53 countries participated in any one sweep of the IC(V)S with more than 130,000 people from all over the globe being interviewed about their experience with crime and criminal justice system. Table 1 provides the list of participating countries in the IC(V)S.

Table 1. Countries participating in the three sweeps of the IC(V)S: 1989; 1992-94; 1996-97


Industrialised      Countries in transition             Developing-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Australia           Albania                             Argentina

Austria             Croatia                             Bolivia



Belgium             Czech Republic                      Botswana

Canada              Estonia                             Brazil

England & Wales     Federal Republic of Yugoslavia      China

Finland             FYR of Macedonia                    Costa Rica

France              Georgia                             Egypt

Germany             Hungary                             India

Italy               Kyrgyzstan                          Indonesia

Japan               Latvia                              Papua New Guinea

Malta               Mongolia                            Paraguay

The Netherlands     Poland                              The Philippines

New Zealand         Romania                             South Africa

Northern Ireland    Russia                              Tanzania

Norway              Slovak Republic                     Tunisia

Scotland            Slovenia                            Uganda

Spain                                                   Zimbabwe

Sweden

Switzerland

USA

While the participation of industrialised countries remained constant throughout the three sweeps of the Survey, the number of developing countries increased from 1 in 1989 to 13 and 12 in the second and third round respectively. As regards countries in transition, their participation increased from 1 in 1989 to 7 in 1992-94 to reach 15 in 1996-97: the largest increase of participation. From among the countries in transition only Poland participated in all three sweeps of the Survey; while Estonia,4 the Czech Republic, Russia, Georgia and Slovenia 5 participated in two sweeps. The following countries in transition participated only once 6 in the IC(V)S: Albania, Croatia 7 , Latvia, Macedonia 8 , Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Romania. Efforts are underway to carry out the Survey in Bulgaria, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and the Slovak Republic. 9

In all industrialised countries, the IC(V)S was carried out on a national sample by computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) while in most developing countries and countries in transition face-to-face interviewing was administered 10. The IC(V)S includes 13 crime types and a number of items dealing with reporting to the police, self-precautionary crime prevention measures and attitudes to law enforcement and punishment. Each sweep of the IC(V)S introduced a number of refinements in the questionnaire based on the experience with pilot studies and working meetings of the International Working Group 11 and the national co-ordinators. These modifications improved the data collection instrument, on the one hand, but reduced the possibility for a straightforward comparison as regards certain items, on the other. For example, the third sweep of the IC(V)S asked for the reasons for reporting the incident to the police as well as whether it was reported to some other public agency which was not the case with the previous two sweeps of the Survey. On the other hand, details on (non)reporting were limited to selected crime types. Nevertheless, the Survey provides a wealth of information and is probably the largest empirical international comparative study with primary data in the area of crime prevention and criminal justice.

This paper presents a number of preliminary findings regarding (non)reporting to police and satisfaction with police for countries in transition for which data are available at the time of the writing of this paper. Some regional comparative inferences will also be made taking into account the 1992 and 1996 sweeps of the IC(V)S. The chosen crime is burglary since it is, as our previous analysis has shown, an exemplary conventional crime with a mid-position in the crime frequency ladder (thus, avoiding extremes). Burglary is an excellent predictor for other property crimes which are still predominant in the crime structure across the globe and in particular in countries in transition. Regression analysis has also shown that burglary is the single best predictor for attitudes towards punishment.

Table 2. One-year victimisation rates for burglary by world regions: 1992 - 1996.


World      Western Europe    New World    Eastern Europe    Africa     Asia       Latin America

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1992 1996  1992 1996         1992 1996    1992 1996         1992 1996  1992 1996  1992 1996

 4.0  4.9   2.2  1.8          3.8  3.4     4.6  3.0          7.6  9.0   2.4  4.0   3.4  7.9

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The global trend observed for burglary rates suggests that they increased between 1992 and 1996. Actually, an increase was observed in Africa, Asia and Latin America only, while in other regions burglary rates were lower than in 1992. Furthermore, in Asia two sub-groups can be identified as Central Asia, which did not participate in the 1992 sweep, and South-East Asia, in which the observed trend revealed a decrease in burglary rates (from 2.4 in 1992 to 1.7 in 1996).

Table 3. One-year victimisation rates for burglary in countries in transition, 1992-1996.


                   1992             1996

----------------------------------------                   

Albania               -              3.5

Latvia                -              2.8

Poland              2.6              2.4

Romania               -              1.1

Russia              1.8              3.2

Georgia             1.7              4.5

Kyrgyzstan            -              4.0

Hungary               -              2.5

Czech Republic      6.5              2.7

Slovak Republic     9.7                -

Slovenia            1.7                -

Estonia*            8.4              4.2

Yugoslavia            -              2.9

----------------------------------------                   

* Data refer to 1995 instead of 1996

As regards Eastern-Central Europe, it should be noted that only five countries participated in both sweeps of the IC(V)S. Among them, the majority showed a dcrease in burglary rates, while an increase was observed in Russia and Georgia.

(NON)REPORTING TO THE POLICE

The core of the "real crime" story as opposed to the "police crime" story (victim or self- report crime rates vs. police crime rates) lies in the amount and type of crime known. That the police are an important reference of the justice as a whole and the crime situation in general, is well reflected in the almost methodological detail as to the way of knowing and recording how much and what type of crime is there. Indeed, police records of crime depend to a large extent on the citizens' propensity to make crime known to the police. To this amount of known crime, the police can add a volume of crime detected but not reported by citizens and, on the other hand, deduct a volume of known criminal activities which for some specific investigative, technical, procedural, social and political reasons does not figure in the "police crime" story. There are, however, important variations across societies as to the volume and type of crime known, reported to the police and admitted into the police figure of crime. The IC(V)S provides considerable information as to societal differences in crimes known by victims and crimes reported by victims to the police, but does not provide information on the official admittance of known crimes into police crime records.

To a large extent, it is expected that the higher the value attached to the target of criminal activity (whether tangible or intangible), the higher the propensity to report to the police. However, this expected propensity is influenced by a number of factors, including those pertaining to the domain of past personal experience and/or otherwise acquired experience with the police, through those pertaining to the sphere of expectations, to those more closely related to some special properties of victimization experience. Some are related to the relationship between the police and citizens (personal or stereotypical esteem and confidence); others to the existence of alternative ways and means of dealing with crime and victimization; still others with the nature and perceived seriousness of the victimization, the relationship with the offender, or the "privacy" of the issue at hand.

Table 4. Percentage of burglaries reported to the police by world regions: 1992-1996


            World       Western     New World     Eastern        Africa        Asia       Latin 

                        Europe                    Europe                                  America

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          92    96     92    96     92     96     92     96     92    96     92    96     92    96

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes     65.0  64.2   81.1  81.7   87.6   76.4   51.4   68.4   54.4  59.0   42.4  53.5   57.1  49.3

No      28.2  34.6   18.0  14.9   12.3   22.8   35.0   30.3   34.8  39.3   45.3  46.4   38.8  54.3

Dont    6.8   1.2    0.9   3.0    0.1    0.8   13.6    1.3   10.7   1.7   12.3   0.1    7.1   0.4

know

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On average, the reporting rates are higher in the developed countries. This is being confirmed in both sweeps of the IC(V)S. As regards the developing world and countries in transition the reporting rates for burglary were just above 50% with the exception of Asia in 1992-94. However, the results of the third sweep show some important changes in that in countries in transition, Asia and Africa there was an increase in the rate of reporting. It is particularly worthy noting that in Eastern and Central Europe there was a marked increase in burglaries reported to the police, a less significant decrease in non-reported incidents and a very significant decrease in responses which claim it was not known whether a burglary was reported or not to the police. As a matter of fact the increase in the rate of reported burglaries to the police is, from a comparative perspective, the highest in countries in transition.

Part of the explanation for this lies in an increase in victimisation by burglary experienced by the citizens of Russia and Georgia in the period between the two sweeps of the Survey. However, even though victimisation rates have decreased in other countries in transition, this period roughly corresponds to a passage from one state of political and economic arrangements to another one characterised by the processes of democratisation and development of market economy and private initiative as well as with changes in occupational patterns and social security provisions. Moreover, this period is also characterised by further social stratification. At the same time, a number of steps were taken in most of the countries in transition to change the police by making it more democratic, accountable and responsive, thus improving its public image and facilitating access to justice.

(Non)reporting of burglary to police by countries is presented in Table 5.

Table 5. (Non)Reporting burglary: countries in transition , 1992-1996




                             Yes                 No            Dont know

                        1992     1996      1992     1996      1992     1996

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Albania                    -     46.3         -     51.9         -      1.9

Latvia                     -     74.4         -     24.1         -      1.5

Estonia*                34.2     56.3      31.6     41.9      34.2      1.8

Poland                  44.8     61.8      48.3     38.2       6.9        -

Romania                    -     85.8         -     14.2         -        -

Russia                  61.3     63.3      38.7     36.7         -        -

Georgia                 41.7     43.2      54.2     55.4       4.2      1.3

Kyrgyzstan                 -     59.8         -     39.7         -      0.4

Hungary                    -     79.0         -     17.0         -      4.0

Czech Republic          59.4     90.3      21.2      9.0      18.8      0.7

Slovenia                69.6        -      30.4        -         -        -

Yugoslavia                 -     72.1         -     26.8         -      1.1

Slovak Republic         33.3        -       50.0       -      16.7        -

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Data refer to 1995 instead of 1996

From among countries in transition for which data are available for the 1992 IC(V)S, the highest reporting rate was found in the Czech part of the former Czechoslovakia followed by Slovenia both of which had rates approximating those of the industrialised world. The lowest reporting rates were in the Slovak part of the former Czechoslovakia and in Poland. In 1996 Survey, the Czech Republic and Romania exhibited the highest reporting rates but also Hungary, Latvia and Yugoslavia. In Estonia and Poland the reporting rates dropped in the period under consideration while in Russia and Georgia there was no significant change. Only in Albania are there still slightly more non-reported cases of burglary.

Within the ambit of multiple factors influencing the reporting of victimization to the law enforcement bodies, particular attention is given to reasons for not reporting. These can be broadly differentiated into those related to the "weight" of the event itself (seriousness of crime, lack of evidence, inappropriateness of police activity), access to solutions away from law enforcement (solved it myself, family support), and negative attitudes (experience/belief) towards the police (could do nothing, would do nothing, fear/dislike). Since this section deals with the police, one can look a bit more closely at the police related reasons. "Police could do nothing" indicates a belief that the police are helpless in their efforts to recover property, find the offender, or do something else which would be beneficial for the victim. It does not say why the police "could do nothing"; in other words, it is an attitude of resignation on the part of citizens. On the other hand, "police won't do anything" is a clear statement that implicitly contains a criticism of the police's deliberate reluctance to do something that could be beneficial and which should be a normal part of the police's role and expectations related to it. "Fear/dislike of police" indicates a negative attitude towards the police, either because the involvement of the police might have unpleasant consequences for the victim (the particular relationship between the victim and the offender) or because there is a general disapproval of the police.

Crimes are mostly not reported because they are deemed "not serious enough". "Police won't do anything" is frequently related to property crimes - personal theft, theft from car and alike, while "fear/dislike of police" is, as expected, indicated in connection with violent crimes and sexual incidents. These types of crime might involve a particular relationship with the offenders or sometimes even a life style which may, in the police perception, result in treating a victim as "an accomplice" or "one who deserves what he/she got". That women victims of sexual incidents are often treated badly by the police is also a recognized fact. It is particularly in developing and Central and Eastern European countries that a belief in, or experience with, the lack of effectiveness of the police figures prominently among reasons for not reporting crimes to the police. In those countries the majority of respondents showed a marked lack of confidence in law enforcement capacities, capabilities and even willingness to serve the community.

With respect to burglary it should be noted that the self-help mechanism, while still important, was considered less important in 1996 than in 1992, at least for countries for which such comparison was possible. On the other hand, recourse to family assistance gained in importance, particularly in Russia. Both in the 1992 and 1996 Surveys, consideration that the case was not serious enough ranked high on the inventory of the reasons for non-reporting. In Poland and Russia its influence on the reporting rate increased considerably while it decreased in Estonia and the Czech Republic. The police related reasons for non-reporting still figure prominently in countries in transition. However, it should be underlined that a belief that the police "could do nothing", while high in Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Hungary and Russia, decreased in its significance both in Estonia and Poland; in Russia, on the other hand, it increased somewhat. That police "won't do anything" is influencing considerably the reporting rate in Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Georgia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Yet, it is significant that its importance particularly increased in Poland and particularly decreased in the Czech Republic and Russia. That the case was not appropriate for the police was an important consideration for non-reporting in both sweeps of the Survey. Another factor influencing the reporting rate, in particular for property crimes such as burglary, is the presence or not of an insurance. The level of household insurance coverage is still much higher in the industrialized countries than in the developing world and Eastern and Central Europe. "At the individual level, those without insurance are less likely to report burglaries to the police...(and) among the industrialized countries, those with low insurance rates, as Spain and Italy, show the lowest reporting rates. At the aggregate level there is obviously a strong association between the extent of insurance coverage and reporting of burglaries to the police".12 Finally, it should also be noted that, particularly in some developing countries, there are alternative policing structures at the community level (e.g. in The Philippines and India) to which cases, usually of lesser significance, are reported. There are, as well, traditional forms of dispute resolution all of which indicate different reporting mechanisms and diversion from the police. 13 Recourse to other agencies is an important mechanism for burglary cases in Yugoslavia (39%) and the Czech Republic (31%) and it appears that it is becoming a valuable alternative in other countries in transition.

Table 6. Reasons for not reporting burglary: countries in transition, 1992-1996




               Not serious      Solved        Not          Other      Family         No         Could do    Won't do    fear/        Did not       Other       Unknown

                  enough        myself    appropriate     agency     solved it    insurance     nothing     anything    dislike        dare

                 92    96      92    96     92    96     92    96     92    96     92    96     92    96    92    96    92    96     92    96     92    96     92    96

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Albania           -  37.5       -  14.3      -  12.5      -     -      -   8.9      -   3.6      -  21.4     -   3.6     -   3.6      -   5.4      -   1.8      -   3.6

Latvia            -  34.0       -  14.9      -     -      -  17.0      -   8.5      -     -      -  59.6     -  34.0     -     -      -     -      -     -      -   2.1

Estonia*       20.9   8.8    16.9  12.4   26.7  23.0      -   3.5    3.6   4.4    6.0   1.8   27.7  15.0  31.3  39.8   9.6   1.8      -  11.5    3.8   5.3      -     -

Poland         13.4  53.8     8.8  12.2   21.8  26.1    2.9   1.3    5.7     -    4.0  14.7   38.4  28.7  12.8  25.5   6.8   6.6      -  14.2    2.7   2.9      -   3.4

Romania           -     -       -  27.7      -  35.7      -     -      -   5.4      -     -      -   5.4     -     -     -  11.0      -   7.3      -  16.5      -  15.7

Russia          7.1  19.5    36.7   9.1   10.2  22.1      -     -    5.2  13.0      -     -   29.5  33.8  27.5   9.1   5.9     -      -     -      -  16.9      -     -

Georgia         7.7   8.9    15.4  17.9      -  10.7      -     -   15.4   6.0      -   1.2    7.7  10.1  38.5  27.4     -  11.9      -   7.1      -   4.2    7.7     -

Kyrgyzstan        -  19.0       -   4.9      -  13.6      -     -      -   8.7      -   1.1      -  40.8     -   8.7     -   3.3      -   3.8      -   4.9      -   7.1

Hungary           -  16.8       -   2.8      -     -      -     -      -  10.9      -  12.1      -  38.5     -  39.9     -     -      -     -      -   8.4      -     -

Czech Rep.     32.4  25.2       -   8.6      -  14.4      -  14.4      -  14.4      -  13.1      -     -  67.6  39.1     -     -      -     -      -   3.1      -   4.1

Yugoslavia        -  38.9       -  20.8      -     -      -     -      -  12.7      -     -      -  20.5     -  11.2     -   4.2      -   7.7      -   6.9      -     -

Slovenia       11.0     -     8.3     -   10.2     -    7.2     -      -     -      -     -   45.1     -   6.1     -   2.0     -      -     -   15.2     -      -     -

Slovak Rep.       -     -       -     -      -     -      -     -      -     -      -     -  100.0     -     -     -     -     -      -     -      -     -      -     -

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Data refer to 1995 instead of 1996

The 1996 IC(V)S also asked why people are reporting burglary to the police.

Table 7. Reasons for reporting burglary: countries in transition, 1996


 

                Recover    Insurance    Should be        Wanted      To avoid      To get     Other

               property                   serious      offender     next time        help

                                                         caught

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                                                         

Albania            74.0         10.0          6.0          36.0          20.0         4.0         -

Latvia             69.2          2.0         43.2          35.3          21.0        14.7         -



Poland             71.7         13.8         70.1          76.6          62.1        17.7       3.1

Romania            70.4            -         51.4          88.7          28.9           -       3.6

Russia             52.6          3.8         49.6          47.4          24.8        36.8       2.3

Georgia            71.2          6.1          7.9          48.6           7.1        11.4         -

Kyrgyzstan         73.2            -         14.9          43.5          17.5         3.0         -

Hungary            38.9         38.9         39.5          65.5          21.9        15.5         -

Czech              31.2         50.4         44.8          58.6          22.8        10.2       2.1

Republic

F.R.               44.7          3.0         68.5          67.0          53.8        17.7         -

Yugoslavia

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                                                         

The reason for reporting burglary which was most frequently mentioned by victims was the desire to recover their property, followed by the desire to facilitate apprehension of the offender.

In Hungary and Czechia, insurance plays a more important role in reporting and consequently the motivation of recovering property is less frequently mentioned than in other countries.

Another important reason is the feeling that reporting crimes is a civic duty: it was mentioned by 50% or more of victims in Poland, Romania, Russia and the FR of Yugoslavia. In Poland and FR of Yugoslavia, victims also indicated their willingness to inform the police so as to reduce the chance of crime occurring again.

SATISFACTION WITH THE POLICE

The above discussion should be related to another indicator of police-community relations, namely the reasons for dissatisfaction with the way the police handle cases once reported. This is one of the best evaluative indicators since it has a specific object - burglary - and provides for a first hand experience.

Table 8. Satisfaction with reporting burglary to the police: countries in transition, 1996


       Albania   Latvia   Poland   Romania   Russia   Georgia   Kyrgyzstan   Hungary      Czech   Yugoslavia

                                                                                       Republic

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                                                                                         

Yes       42.0     31.7     20.6      19.1     24.1      21.4         12.4      53.7       61.0         41.8

No        50.0     63.4     75.8      80.9     66.9      72.5         76.6      39.2       31.6         49.2

Dont      8.0      4.8      3.6         -      9.0       6.1         10.9       7.0        7.4          9.0

know

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                                                                                         

While previous discussion provided some grounds to claim that confidence in police increased during the period 1991-95, the results presented in Table 8 still confirm a pattern established in previous the Survey, that is to say, in the developed world satisfaction with police handling reported cases is much higher than in countries in transition and in the developing world. From among the groups of countries in transition, only in the Czech Republic (61%) and Hungary (54%) were victims somewhat more satisfied with the way police dealt with their reported burglary cases. On the other hand, and in particular in Romania, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Poland, there is a clear dissatisfaction with police handling reported cases. This state of affairs indicates that much more is needed in changing the police procedure and approach towards victims and citizens in general, although it has a lot to do with expectations as to what the police are supposed to achieve in order to fulfill the rights and interests of victims. Though the association between reporting rates and levels of satisfaction is modest, in countries where victim satisfaction is high, more victims report burglaries and other crimes to the police. The reasons given for dissatisfaction are presented in Table 9.

Table 9. Reasons for dissatisfaction with reporting burglary to the police: countries in transition, 1996




          Did not    Not           Did not     Did not    Did not    Did not      Slow      Other    Unknown

          do         interested    find        recover    inform     treat me     to

          enough                   offender    goods      me         correctly    arrive

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------          

Albania     36.0           24.0        28.0       48.0        4.0          8.0       4.0        -          -

Latvia      55.4           27.2        35.9       39.1        8.7          7.6      14.1     12.0          -

Poland      37.8           54.1        70.1       47.4        4.5         11.1      22.7      8.7          -

Romania     55.1           30.0        87.1       87.9       29.5          3.4         -        -          -

Russia      27.0           57.3        41.6       62.9       25.8            -       3.4      3.4       15.7

Georgia     28.4           33.7        60.0       24.2        4.2          5.3       1.1        -          -

Kyrgyzstan  17.6           22.9        38.1       61.0        2.4          1.0       9.5      4.3        4.3

Hungary     69.9           39.9        28.7       54.4        3.1          9.0      11.1     15.0          -

Czech Rep.  49.0           37.8        60.1       26.9       41.8          5.7      19.9     12.3          -

FR 

Yugoslavia  60.4           44.6        56.7       53.3       42.9          6.6      18.8      3.0          -

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------          

In countries in transition, many victims complained that the police "didn't find the offender", " did not do enough" or did not recover the property. Reporting is often motivated by the expectation that reclaiming stolen property and substantial economic interests might be at stake for the victims of property crime. As mentioned above, this also has a lot to do with poor insurance coverage. On the other hand, in the developed world, the dissatisfied victims single out that the police "were not interested" as the most important reason for not reporting. In all likelihood, particularly with respect to property crimes, the outcomes of investigation, including the recovery of stolen property, is of less concern. In these cases, contact with the police and satisfaction are more service and administration oriented. Efficient and interested treatment is expected from the police on the grounds of respect for citizens' rights, and very much so as a documentary support for insurance claim.

Satisfaction with police handling cases is therefore a mixture of a first hand experience and expectations as to the proper objectives of police work. (Dis)satisfaction is as much a matter of economic opportunities and social expectations as of police culture, approach and procedure.

There is another important indicator of police satisfaction: the opinion as to police performance in controlling the residence area.

Table 10. Police do a good job: countries in transition, 1992-1996




                      Good job           Not a good job           Dont know

                   1992     1996         1992     1996           1992     1996

------------------------------------------------------------------------------          

Albania               -     44.2            -     15.9              -     39.9

Latvia                -     14.6            -     36.0              -     49.3

Poland             24.8     18.3         49.4     49.0           25.7     32.7

Romania               -     28.1            -     53.0              -     18.9

Russia              7.5     10.2         44.7     47.7           47.8     42.1

Georgia             1.0     25.5         12.5     47.1           86.4     27.4

Kyrgyzstan            -     12.0            -     52.1              -     35.9

Hungary               -     21.5            -     35.4              -     43.1

Czech Republic     11.6     16.9         32.8     32.7           55.6     50.4

F.R. of 

Yugoslavia            -     25.5            -     42.7              -     31.7

Estonia*            9.4     15.9         54.3     46.1           36.3     38.0

Slovenia           55.3        -         20.3        -           24.4        -

Slovak Republic    19.2        -         27.3        -           53.5        -

------------------------------------------------------------------------------          

* Data refer ro 1995 instead of 1996

Some 44% of respondents in Tirana think that the police are doing a good job although just slightly less have not evaluated police performance in controlling crime. In Latvia half of the respondents have not evaluated police performance. In almost all countries with the exception of Slovenia, the Slovak Republic and Romania the portion of "unknown" is very high. That the police are not doing a good job prevails in almost all countries in transition with the exception of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic. In some countries such as the Czech Republic and Russia close to 90% of the respondents had a negative opinion about police performance in controlling crime in their residential area in 1992. Yet, things have improved. For example, in Russia where in 1996 the percentage of negative opinions halved with respect to 1992; in the Czech Republic the negative opinion dropped from 90% to one third, while in Poland it dropped by 25%. This is an important indicator of the improvements in police performance in controlling crime in residential areas.

Similarly the respondents in 1996 felt that the likelihood of a burglary taking place in the near future is lower than in 1992. Still, on average, somewhere between one third and one half of the citizens in countries in transition fear that a burglary will take place in the near future; they believe they run a high risk of victimisation through burglary. That the feeling of insecurity prevails as regards burglaries including entry by force is demonstrated also by comments made by the national corespondents who reported problems in carrying out the survey due to the fact that people just refused to allow the respondents to enter the household. This was particularly noted in Belgrade where the traumatic experience of a nearby war, a high number of refugees, a high rate of unemployment and a growing number of drug-addicts and petty-crime organised groups drastically increased fear of crime and recourse to self-defense measures including gun possession. Not opening doors to strangers probably became the most diffused crime prevention measure and this was also applied to the IC(V)S interviewers.

Table 11. Likelihood of burglary occurrence: countries in transition, 1992-1996






                        Very likely/           Not likely            Dont know

                          likely

                        1992    1996          1992    1996          1992    1996

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------          

Albania                    -    40.6             -    42.5             -    16.9

Latvia                     -    49.5             -    20.3             -    30.2

Poland                  36.8    28.8          50.6    52.6          12.6    18.6

Romania                    -    36.6             -    30.5             -    33.3

Russia                  63.3    55.5          15.9    24.6          20.8    19.8

Georgia                 62.0    32.5          18.8    51.8          19.2    15.7

Kyrgyzstan                 -    47.9             -    36.2             -    15.9

Hungary                    -    27.5             -    46.3             -    26.2

Czech Republic          43.5    50.1          32.3    27.9          24.1    22.0

Yugoslavia                 -    52.1             -    22.8             -    25.0

Estonia                 33.2    27.4          26.4    41.8          40.5    30.8

Slovenia                71.0       -          24.9       -           4.1       -

Slovak Republic         37.3       -          30.3       -          32.3       -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------          

* Data refer ro 1995 instead of 1996

The above mentioned findings are related to self-precautionary measures undertaken to protect premises from being burglarised.

Table 12. Measures against burglary: countries in transition, 1992-1996






                  Burglar   Special door   Special   Watch dog   High fence   Caretaker/   Watch    Refusal       None to    Other

                  alarm     locks          grills/                            security     scheme                 these

                                           windows                            guard

                  92   96     92   96      92   96     92   96     92   96      92   96    92   96    92   96     92   96     92   96

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Albania            -  0.5      -  3.3       -  4.5      -  9.5      -  8.1       -  0.4     -  0.1     -  0.2      - 76.0      -  0.1

Latvia             -  3.8      - 16.2       -  9.2      - 17.7      -  1.2       -  0.5     -  2.0     -  6.3      - 49.3      -  1.6

Estonia*         1.0  3.1    3.9 18.1     1.0  2.8    3.8 26.3      -  1.6     0.2  0.3     -    -   2.9  0.9   68.0 55.6      -    -

Poland           3.1  2.4   27.0 26.3     6.6  5.7   34.3 23.4   11.2  2.1     3.2  1.0     - 16.7     -  0.7      - 37.1      - 16.8

Romania            -  5.7      - 35.5       - 18.2      - 30.1      - 10.8       -    -     -    -     -  0.2      - 36.7      -    -

Russia           5.9  7.2   21.8 13.3     3.8  2.8   15.8 17.4    0.3    -     2.9  2.2     - 18.2   3.5 38.0   59.3  0.8      - 23.5

Georgia            -  3.4      - 26.2       - 13.1      - 16.8      -  9.9       -  0.2     -  1.5     -  1.5      - 45.4      -    -

Kyrgyzstan         -  2.9      - 25.0       - 20.2      - 21.1      -  6.1       -  0.1     -  2.1     -  0.4      - 40.9      -  0.6

Hungary            -  7.4      - 49.5       - 18.2      - 34.4      -  8.9       -  1.6     -  2.0     -  3.7      - 14.6      -  3.5

Czech Rep.       5.1  6.9   63.2 59.4     6.6  6.5   19.3 21.8    6.2  3.4     1.7  1.7     - 14.7   4.3  2.8      - 20.7      -  5.9

Yugoslavia         -  3.5      - 21.5       -  4.2      - 11.8      -  4.9       -  0.5     - 12.0     -  0.3      - 42.6      - 23.6



Slovenia         4.9    -   34.2    -     6.0    -   15.2    -    3.4    -     0.3    -     -    -  51.6    -    1.7    -      -    -

Slovak Rep.      8.1    -   47.3    -       -    -    4.9    -    4.9    -       -    -     -    -     -    -      -    -      -    -

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Data refer to 1995 instead of 1996

The most diffused measures in countries in transition are special door locks, window grills and watch dogs. Caretakers are rare as well as neighbourhood watch schemes. Relatively expensive burglar alarms are also rarely used.

SOME CONCLUDING REMARKS

Data provided through the IC(V)S strongly highlight consistency in all indicators of police performance, in particular in terms of positive evaluations. At the world level, there is a strong positive correlation between satisfaction with police controlling crime, reporting to the police and satisfaction with police handling reports (0.669; 0.689 and 0.753). Furthermore, there is a strong relationship between satisfaction with police performance, crime reporting and frequency of patrolling. These findings strongly support the idea that an elementary requirement for good policing in crime prevention consists in a systematic police presence which both increases the feeling of safety among the citizens and satisfaction with the police. Needless to say, both are in turn important for public security. An increased feeling of safety which has to do with police presence increases public satisfaction with and confidence in the police.

Among countries in transition, the first thing to note is that in 1992 there were many respondents who claimed that they were unable to evaluate. This can be explained by the fact that, during the period in which the survey was carried out, in many of these countries the police were undergoing changes as to their mandate and organization. Things have improved in the period between the two sweeps of the IC(V)S. There is on average more reporting to the police and a bit more satisfaction with police work in controlling crime. However, there is still a lot of dissatisfaction with police work, particularly in terms of the ways in which the police deal with reported cases.

The previous discussion clearly shows that the evaluation of police performance is a rational process within the given context. Expectations of interested and efficient treatment on the part of victims from the developed world reflect concerns with citizens' rights, police service orientation and reliance on insurance mechanisms for damage control. Expectations as to the recovery of stolen property and bringing offenders to justice is a rational response of victims in less affluent, less "insured" and more crime-driven societies. Despite the victims' particular experience, their evaluation is no less rational than that of other respondents whose experience with the police might have been only in administrative matters or based on mere participation in the community life, including mass media reports and contacts with those who had direct experience with the police. There is no doubt that satisfaction with the police in general and for each singular police performance indicator is higher in the developed world and in regions with an average higher level of affluence. In these areas, most probably other public services are of easier access and of a higher quality. In terms of crime prevention and control, the IC(V)S analysis confirmed that public safety is still very much police business, and that citizens across the world, as a minimum, do expect more police presence and more police efficiency. Seeking safety, less crime and less fear of crime is a process in which all parties concerned have a definite role to play. This only increases the importance of police work in terms of both the presence and the quality of services provided. That all positive indicators of police performance display a strong positive correlation is not only a methodological triviality. Its true significance lies in indicating directions for police development programmes. "The police should concentrate on improving outcomes of the organisation: lowering the victimisation rate, improvement of perceived safety and the level of safety problems experienced by the population, prevention of public order problems...improved confidence in police". 14 Reaching these objectives is a rational measure of police performance and evaluation. The citizens' evaluation of the police is a rational reflection of crime concerns and police behaviour in servicing the community. For crime prevention and control and for justice in society it is at least no less important than any other device developed for the internal measurement of police success. There is still much to be desired in changing the police culture and improving police-community relations. The IC(V)S is an important research and policy/management tool for screening and evaluating the present and for identifying directions for future work.

NOTES

  1. M. Findlay, U. Zvekic, Alternative Policing Styles, Kluwer, Deventer, 1993.

  2. J.J.M. van Dijk, P.Mayhew and M.Killias, Crime Across the World. Kluwer,1991.

  3. For an overview of the 1992-94 IC(V)S see, A.Alvazzi del Frate, U.Zvekic and J.J.M. van Dijk (eds.),Understanding Crime: Experiences of Crime and Crime Control, UNICRI, 1993. For industrialised countries, see J.J.M. van Dijk and P.Mayhew, Criminal Victimisation in Industrialized World, Ministry of Justice of the Netherlands, The Hague, 1992. For developing countries, see, U.Zvekic and A.Alvazzi del Frate, Criminal Victimisation in the Developing World, UNICRI, 1995.

  4. Estonia participated in 1992 and then again in 1995.

  5. The third sweep of the IC(V)S in Slovenia will be implemented in early 1997.

  6. With the exception of the Slovak Republic all of them participate in 1996-97 IC(V)S.

  7. The IC(V)S in Croatia will be carried out in early 1997.

  8. The IC(V)S in Macedonia is currently being carried out in Skopje and will include three other medium size cities and three townships in 1997.

  9. Data for Slovakia for the 1992 IC(V)S are disaggregated from a sample covering the territory of the former Czechoslovakia.

  10. In 1992 IC(V)S in Slovenia both methods were applied which enabled an interesting methodological comparative analysis.

  11. The International Working Group is composed by J.J.M.van Dijk, P.Mayhew, A.Alvazzi del Frate and U.Zvekic.

  12. J.J.M. van Dijk, "Who is afraid of the crime victim: criminal victimisation, fear of crime and opinions on crime control in an international perspective", paper presented at the World Society of Victimology Symposium, Adelaide, Australia, 21-26 August 1994.

  13. M. Findlay, U. Zvekic, Alternative policing... op. cit.

  14. K. van der Vijver, "Policy development in the police organisation: the role of the citizen surveys" in A.Alvazzi del Frate, U. Zvekic, J.J.M. van Dijk (eds.), Understanding Crime: Experiences of Crime and Crime Control, UNICRI, 1993.


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